I had been tipped off by my boss, who used to live in this neighbourhood, about Original Herbal Shop, when she discovered that I liked to eat guilinggao. Opposite the bloodlessly pale chickens of Boon Tong Kee and located in the Sim Kwong Ho row of shophouses, I'd be tempted to dwell on the fascinating carvings of Sikh policemen mingling with more traditional figures from Chinese mythology on the colonnades that line the five foot way there, but better men than I am have already done that. So let’s get back to the pudding.
I am not exactly an aficionado, but I know I like guilinggao, having tried versions from the supermarket and in restaurants. The portion was generous (always a plus with me), and I tucked in with gusto. The auntie who served us helpfully pointed out the bottles of honey on the table, presumably fearing that my ang moh palate would be revolted by the taste. I often eat guilinggao without honey, much to the bemusement of local friends and acquaintances, but it is a bit like drinking coffee black: unadulterated, you get a proper sense of the flavour.
No facebook page or website, of course. So instead, I have uploaded this excellent history of the heritage sites surrounding Balestier Road, produced by the National Heritage Board, which includes a page on the Sim Kwong Ho shophouses: click here. (NB: it takes a long time to load up so please be patient! It is worth it.)
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